This is episode 4 of my hopefully-regular pre-council list of what I think are going to be the most important three items on our Council agenda on Monday* in no particular order, so you can decide if you want to tune in.
#1: We are in Queensborough!
This isn’t an agenda item, but the traditional first meeting in September is held at the Queensborough Community Centre – the only time we take Council Meetings out of City Hall. Also unique in this meeting is that it is Public Hearing on a few items, but we are still going to have Public Delegations (usually Delegations are not permitted on a Public Hearing night- but the point of going to Q’Boro is to hear from the community, so the regular rules go out the window. If you are in Q’Boro, come out to the QCC for a 5:45 start, and if you have something to say, you can delegate at 7:00.
#2: Cannabis Regulation Bylaws:
We will be doing a Public Hearing on the zoning law changes required to get cannabis retail operations ready for application by the time the federal legalization occurs in October. It took quite a bit of work on Staff’s part to get this together on a tight timeline, especially as details of the legalization regime were trickling out of Ottawa and Victoria. We have had several workshops and lots of discussion around the Council table about this (the members of Council have had some pretty fundamental disagreements about how to approach this new regulatory regime). Happy to know we are ready for Public Hearing before the October 17th change in federal regulations. Even if we approve the Bylaws after this Public hearing, it doesn’t mean that the stores will open in October. Staff have developed a pretty streamlined process to get the first tranche of applications through all of the zoning and business regulations, but it will still take a bit of time once applications start arriving. If you have opinions about cannabis retail, you may want to read up on these Bylaws and come to the Public Hearing!
#3: Environmental Strategy and Action Plan Final Report:
It has been some time since the City updated its overarching environmental protection strategy. This solid piece of policy work has been in the works for a couple of years, and has seen public review and endorsement from the Environment Advisory Committee. It outlines our goals in emissions and energy reduction, ecological protection, resource protection and waste management. Implementation will take money and several years, but in Local Government, it is always good to have an endorsed strategy document that staff can point to in guiding their work, and a set of defined goals to know if we are hitting our targets.
*footnote: The funny thing about Council: it is almost impossible to predict what three items will rise to the top and get the most debate/ public feedback / media coverage, so these are only my guesses. For a full prediction of the entire Council agenda, go to the agenda!